Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fear and Hope

So in case you didn't know-I am not a fan of fundraising. I hate asking people for help at all, let alone money. That is the worst. And right now there are a lot of people fundraising. So many people in this boat.

And we have a long way to go before we are funded.

This week the fear and doubt started to creep in. Yesterday it hit me full force. I began to feel overwhelmed at how far we have to go. And, as happens to so many people, things have started to break and fall apart around us.

In 2 months, both of our cars have ended up in the shop. 1 of them ended up there twice. our dog jumped through our big kitchen window, which turned out to be a weird size and therefore difficult and expensive to replace. our dishwasher broke. but before it totally broke it flooded the kitchen floor a few good times and now our kitchen floor is bubbling up all over the place and also needs to be replaced. the handle fell off of our oven door. our dryer has been on it's way out for awhile and is now good as gone. this week our clothes washer decided it wanted to join the party and also washed it's very last load.

many of these things i can do without. I love my clothes line. I am totally good washing dishes by hand. Who needs a handle on their oven? However, we probably need a kitchen floor and there is no way we can go on with 5 kids and no clothes washer. That was kind of the straw that sent this camel to the emergency room. or the shrink's office.

Everything just seemed like it was falling apart around us. That is usually a good sign that you are on the right path though, isn't it? When the going gets tough and all that.

And thankfully I have some wise people in my life. I have had many wise words spoken to me over the last few days as I started to feel that I was slipping. They reminded me how far we have come. They reminded me that this is bigger than me. I was thinking too small.

Really hard, awful, seemingly insurmountable obstacles were thrown in our path last adoption. Extra expenses piled up around us. I shed a lot of tears. And, guess what? Our daughter is here now. Home where she belongs.

Because this isn't about me. It isn't about Dale. It is something much bigger than that. And I now believe in miracles. Because I have seen them. I have experienced them. And I need to let go and trust.

I am not, in any way, saying that I expect something. Every single time I see our Chip In move up I get all choked up. We are truly, to our core, grateful for every single dollar, every thought or prayer, every share of our links.

But I have to just trust in the journey and try to soak up the experience this life is giving me. There are so many lessons here that can shape me if I just let go and listen. and learn.

I am going to hit that place of panic again. I am sure of it. I will need some more wise words, encouragement, and reminders. I have awesome friends and am so thankful for them. Today, I am hopeful. Putting one foot in front of the other and picturing holding our girl in our arms. We will get there. She will get here. I am holding on to that.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paperwork Update!

Yesterday we got the last of the dossier that we can do all finished and OK'd by the team! We are just waiting for the home study to be in our hands and then I can drive the last few things down to Montgomery to be apostilled and then mail it all off to Eastern Europe. I am really hoping that this time next week I will be updating to tell you that it is on it's way!

Our fingerprint appointment is set for July 5. Last time we got the results of that back in 3 days. We will also be sending USCIS our new home study update as soon as we get it. We just have to have that back before we travel for our second trip, which will (hopefully) be end of September/first of October. So, that gives us PLENTY of time. Our approval is good through the end of November and we can get an extension of 4 months if we ever needed to. So we are set with USCIS and don't even need to stress about that step this time!

Our Online Auction is still JUMPING! So excited about that. The funds are steady coming in, but we have a long way to go. I can just say that seeing the big facilitation fee off our list is HUGE though. One thing at a time. We are gonna get there!!! Thank you guys so much!! :)


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Home Study Visit

We had our home study visit this evening and it went great! I LOVE our home study agency and this social worker was awesome! I love that she is a mom and has also adopted twice herself. I want someone in my home who understands what our days are like. And she was great. She was not only extremely prepared, but she was kind and easy to talk to. I really enjoyed the time we spent with her. She said it will take a few days to type up and send to various people to proof and OK it. I am hoping it will be in our hands in a week. The second it is in my hand I will be driving to Montgomery to send it off to Eastern Europe!!! Yay!!!

Please check out our Online Auction. You can live anywhere and we have some amazing stuff. I will also be planning a yard sale soon. Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, love, and support! We are really moving now!

So now we start working towards our next goal. We decided to throw all the money we have raised so far towards the giant facilitation fee so we could just mark that off the list. So here we are again (LOL)-

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Monday, June 25, 2012

ANOTHER MATCHING GRANT and ROJO fun!

Last night was a wonderful night. We are truly grateful for everyone that came out to help us bring our daughter home. It probably wasn't the smoothest fundraiser on the planet, but it was a lot of fun and we made over $1000! Thank you so so much!

WE ALSO HAVE ANOTHER MATCHING GRANT!! I am floored you guys. I had never even heard of a matching grant until recently and now we are on our 3rd! This one is for $500 and and we have 3 weeks to meet it! So that puts us at July 16th! Our Chip in is at $4185 so we need it to get to $4685! This is amazing news!

Don't forget we have an awesome deal of 3 Sez Me Photography Photo Sessions for Half Price!!!

And now because I hate seeing that giant facilitation fee on the list of expenses I have rearranged how we have distributed the money for our trip and am just putting it all toward that giant facilitation fee so we can knock that off! And we are so close! The fee is $9000 and we are at less than 1K away!! So that is what we are working towards now! Thank you guys so much!
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Information on HIV and adoption!

Our blog has gotten a lot of traffic (YAY!!)! so I thought now would be a good time to remind everyone that any and every donation matters. Even $2 or $3 dollars makes a huge difference. We appreciate every penny that is donated to help bring our daughter home.

I also wanted to answer some questions that I am sure a lot of people have. I am copying and pasting this from our other blog Hope for Sharon and Mayah. I hope it helps!

But isn’t HIV contagious? HIV is a very fragile virus, and there are very specific ways that it is transmitted. HIV is only transmitted when the virus enters the bloodstream. This only occurs through sexual contact; through the use of contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, or receiving a transfusion of HIV-infected blood products; and from a mother who is HIV-infected to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, and labor and delivery. HIV transmission does not occur with normal household contact. It is not transmitted through tears, saliva, mucous or other bodily fluids. The CDC does not even consider it a “communicable” disease. You can’t simply “catch” it. In addition, when an infected person is on treatment, the levels of HIV in the blood are brought so low that they are considered undetectable – meaning the possibility of transmission – even through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid – is that much more remote.

Aren’t these children going to die after their families bring them home? Many people don’t realize that the prognosis for children on treatment for their HIV is excellent. They are expected to live long, normal lives. In fact, in the west, HIV is now considered a chronic illness rather than the terminal disease it used to be. Sadly, this isn’t the case for those HIV infected children living in resource-poor settings, where 50% of infected and untreated children are not expected to live past the age of two.

Is it true that you can have HIV and not develop AIDS?
Absolutely! There are over 20 medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV, and more are in development. These medications bring the levels of the virus so low in the body that the virus can be considered undetectable in the bloodstream. Patients receiving treatment for HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives without developing AIDS.

What about all of the children who don’t get adopted? We recognize that adoption is only a band-aid answer. It is one small piece in a big puzzle – we seek to partner with organizations providing holistic, sustainable care for HIV+ orphans in-country.

What if I catch HIV from my child?
Many people don’t know that HIV is a very fragile virus. As soon as it leaves the body, it begins to die. There are no documented cases of HIV transmission through casual household or school contact. HIV+ children can (and do!) share cups, baths, pools, dishes, bathrooms, etc.! In addition, when children are on treatment for their HIV, the amount of the virus in their bloodstream can be brought so low that it is considered “undetectable” – meaning the amount of the virus in the blood, even through contact with blood, has been brought so low that the possibility of transmission has become even more remote.

What if no insurance company will cover my child?
Here’s the great news! It is a legal requirement that all adopted children be added to group insurance plans without pre-existing condition clauses in all 50 states! And many states also require that private insurance plans do the same! In addition, all 50 states have funding programs that will assist with the costs of HIV treatment within specified income guidelines.

For specific information on your state’s programs and insurance requirements, please contact Positively Orphaned at info@positivelyorphaned.org



Now for some heartbreaking statistics-


It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.)

Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa

Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)

143,000,0002 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years3 in an orphanage or foster home

Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT4 of the system

Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT

Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home

In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18. 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.5 Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…

Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children arrarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a Million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 Million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home. They are totally vulnerable and easily fall prey to predators and slave recruiters.

HOW DO WE FIX THIS??

ONE CHILD AT A TIME!!

There are no easy answers. I don't pretend there are, or that adoption solves everything. We need to address the issues that cause this crisis-poverty, lack of education, lack of health care, lack of support. We need to help families that would keep their children if they had support and resources. But we also need to go get those babies and children that have been left behind. If you can't adopt a child, you can still help. Support someone that is adopting, an organization that works to help orphans and mothers, or just help spread the word. Knowledge can change the world, and we can all do SOMETHING!!

Once your eyes have been opened to this tragedy it is impossible to close them again. Please don't turn away from these children. They desperately need your help.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Home Study Visit is Scheduled!!

I told you I hoped to post soon about having home visits scheduled! Well, we do! Yay!! Next Tuesday June 26 we will have our visit. Because this is just an update we only have to do one visit! The social worker has already read through all our paperwork so hopefully it will be pretty easy and straight forward. I would love to have it off to Eastern Europe by July 2!

IF things go smoothly (I know, I laughed as I typed that), it would put our travel somewhere between August 16-September 6. This is longer than we had hoped by about 4-6 weeks, but we will take it. The Olympics and the Euro Cup will be over so prices won't be as crazy expensive. Summer prices are still more than we have budgeted for. But they start to fall about September, so we will hopefully not be too far off on what we expect to spend.

We still need a lot of money to make this happen. Rojo is coming up and then I will start working on the online auction and putting together a yard sale. We also have a video that we are putting together to hopefully go viral. I can't wait to share it with you guys when it is finished.

Right now I am going to just focus on the last few papers of the dossier and this home study visit. THEN I will stress about the money. But we will get there. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can...

Thank you for not tiring of us! I will leave you with a news story about our family that just aired-

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WOWZA!!

I am blown away again. In just four days (again) we met the newest matching grant!!! That means you guys donated $750 in just 4 days. So we will receive another $750 from our matching grant. If you are keeping up that is twice this month that $1500 was raised in 4 little days. $3000 total! We are spinning! This is just amazing! We are so so grateful.

We also got word from the home study agency that our paperwork was forwarded to our social worker. We should be hearing from her any day to schedule our home visits!! This is our last step other than notarizing some papers!

I fear saying we are close because we thought we were close so many times last time and things just kept changing on us. BUT we are at least almost done all the stuff we can do on our end!!

We have raised more than a quarter of the facilitation fee. This is our biggest expense. Hopefully Rojo will help us raise a big chunk of it as well. Rojo is going to be an awesome time. We hope you can come. I will, hopefully be updating again any day with news of our home study!

As always, thank you so so so much!!!!



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Saturday, June 16, 2012

ANOTHER MATCHING GRANT!!!

I am seriously in shock! We have been offered another matching grant by some very generous, amazing people! I am overcome with gratitude right now.

Same deal-every dollar donated through the chip in will be matched up to $750 dollars for two weeks. We have until June 30th at midnight. Our Chip in is at $2335 right now. We need to get it to $3085 to get the full $750 matching grant.

I know everyone is broke. This is an awesome way to make a small donation go far. $3 dollars becomes $6. Those small amounts add up in a big way. And your donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!

Please, please please help us spread the word on this and consider donating even a couple of dollars.

To donate just click on the Chip In!

Thank you so so so much!




Day 1-$89 raised. $661 to go!
Day 2-$20 raised. $641 to go!
Day 3-$0 raised. $641 to go!
Day 4-$645 raised. $0 to go!!!
THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paperwork

I am sure you have heard that the paperwork in adoption is rather difficult. That would be the truth. Each country has different requirements. But no matter where you go, there is a lot of paperwork. Our country is very particular about the paperwork. It must be flawless. Pristine. I struggle with doing anything flawlessly!

The dossier is about 50 pages thick. Each page must be notarized and apostilled (state certified basically). I went with 5 kids yesterday to Montgomery to have most of our dossier apostilled. We are waiting on the certified copies of our police clearances, my police clearances in any form, and the home study. That is all. I wanted to get some of this off so that the team in EE can start translating.

I thought we were super close to being DONE with the paperwork. But, just like last time, every time I think we are about to be done, I find out we have to redo something. ARGH!!!

My notary literally pulled a muscle in her neck yesterday notarizing for me. I hate to have to ask her to redo anything!

But, just like last time, I know it will be done. And, at this point, sooner rather than later. And all the stress will be worth it. Today I am calling Montgomery to find out why my clearances haven't come back yet. Last time mine came back super fast and Dale's took almost two months. I don't want to not call and then find out that there was a mistake of some kind.

Then I will reprint, resign, renotarize, reapostille a bunch of forms and send them across the ocean. We are getting close now. I just have to keep my eyes forward and stay focused. This isn't about paperwork or awful trips to the state capital. It is about a beautiful little girl waiting for her family. Every day that she sits and waits is one more day too many. I am trying to get there as fast as I can, V. We are coming!

UPDATE-Montgomery says my clearances will be mailed out to us today and the home study agency is sending the social worker all of our information so she can schedule the home visits! We really are so close now! By the time she is done typing up the home study the dossier will be done and we can just mail it all to EE!! It really could be off in the next couple of weeks! Oh my goodness!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Goals and some News!

This has been an eventful week! We had a great article come out on a local news site. You can check it out here. We are very, very thankful for the chance to have this kind of exposure.

We also met our matching grant !!! In 4 days you guys contributed the necessary $750 we needed for a generous family to match another $750!!! The gratitude we feel is HUGE.

(UPDATE AS OF JUNE 17-WE HAVE A NEW MATCHING GRANT TO MEET OF ANOTHER $750)!!!

Thanks to the matching grant, this news story, and your donations we have met our previous goal of return tickets for the first trip. Now we are working towards 1/2 of the facilitation fee. I am breaking it into two parts because the whole 9K is just. so. daunting. Here we go-

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MATCHING GRANT!!

A very generous family has offered to do a matching grant for our family!!! For the next two weeks every dollar donated will be matched up to $750!! So if you give $5 it turns into $10. If you give $10 it turns into $20! IF we raise the whole $750 in the next two weeks it will turn into $1500!!!! We have until June 20th! Please help us spread the word. This is HUGE!!!

Our chip in is at $671 right now. Can you help us move it up? It is tax deductible thanks to Circle of Hope! We are so humbled and grateful!!! Thank you so so so much!!!

Sez Me Photography!!!

Natalie Spargo of Sez Me Photography is awesome! She is who does all of our professional family pictures. Her clients are very loyal and if you aren't one yet, you need to be! She is offering us an amazing way to raise funds! Her full sessions are normally $300 dollars. Right now she is offering 5 FULL SESSIONS for $150 and ALL of the proceeds go to our adoption fund! You get gorgeous photos and can feel good knowing you helped a little girl come home to her family and receive the love and medical care she so desperately needs.

These sessions include one hour of Natalie doing her magic and 20-60 pictures on a disc to print where you like and keep forever! Y'all this is an amazing deal. AMAZING.

There are only 5 of these so snatch them up quick!!

Just pay through the chip in and comment below telling me who you are and how to contact you. I will send the info to Sez Me Photography and she will get in touch.

Thanks you guys!!



Update-SOLD OUT! THANK YOU!























I have so many great pictures from her I wish I could show them all! Now go get some for yourself! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Looking at the numbers

This weekend was supposed to be the photo session fundraiser. But it didn't happen because not a single person signed up. I know times are hard and money is tight. I know people are tired of hearing us ask for help. I really do get it. I have had a few people apologize for not signing up. There is no need for that. I understand. I am so thankful Kristy Pruet offered to do the fundraiser. I am thankful people care about our family.  I know that if my friends could, they would just write me a check. I have great people in my life.  I am grateful. That keeps me moving.  Support on this journey isn't just about money.  You guys hold me up when I get overwhelmed. You keep me moving forward when I get paralyzed by having so much to do and so far to go. By having to start back at the beginning just as we crossed the finish line.

Our biggest issue is, as always, getting the word out. I am hitting the same audience-my facebook page. And the same dozen people share my links and hit the same audience-their facebook page. The same people can not give over and over.  One person can only do so much.  I have to get this off of facebook. I have to have more people sharing with more people. I just don't know how to do that.

This adoption isn't about money. It is about V. A precious little girl. It is about family.  Our family and our daughter.  I hate that money even becomes a part of this. I wish we could just write a check and go.  Talking about money turns this beautiful journey into something cold and sterile.  Unfortunately, giant sums of money are a yucky reality of this process.  So, I have to think about it...a lot.   And things, well they are pretty stagnant financially right now. I have to figure out how to make some headway. 

I was going back through the Hope for Sharon Blog. This is how the money came in last time-

$11,000 was donated by a few people in BIG chunks.


$5000 Dale and I put in when we got our tax returns.


$2600 raised with Hope Cuts


$2000 raised at Rojo


$2000 raised at yardsale


$2000 raised with IPad


$1500 raised with 1 of our 100


$4100 raised with various fundraisers and donations (everything from Easter egg hunt, Hope party, Beach trip, etc. to donations not for a giveaway) That last $4100 was made up of mostly 5-20 dollar donations.

We had about 4000 left over from the last adoption.  We used some of that on Eva's tooth surgery. We have received 1K from a single donor and our Memorial Day Fun Day brought in over $700.  The other thousand or so has been $6 for our 6, the blendtec giveaway, and a few amazing people that have done some fundraisers for us.

I am looking at this trying to figure out what to do from here.  We have such a long way to go. Hope cuts will not bring in near that much this time.  I can't do an Ipad. We are doing Rojo and a yardsale. I really hope they are both as successful this time, but don't know what to expect.

We still need about $18,000.  And possibly more.  With the Euro Cup and the summer Olympics I am hearing scary plane ticket prices.  BUT our paperwork is taking longer than expected since we had to start all over.  We will not be traveling in July as we had first hoped.  So, though the wait is excruciating, perhaps it gives us more time to fundraise and the prices will be back down.

When we were down to 18K last time we began 1 of our 100 and Hope Parties.  We raised about $2K between those two things.  One person through a Hope Party and brought in about $500!!  We would be so grateful if anyone would consider being 1 of our 100 again (donate 18 dollars and ask 9 friends to do the same).  This would be really helpful and is easy to do.  Please check out the links if you feel led to do so.

 We also have our ongoing Art Auction. No action has really started on there yet. . I would love to throw V a birthday party in July and turn it into a fundraiser.  Maybe another family fun day type thing. If anyone has any idea how to make this happen I am open to suggestions.

Basically, this is my "Please help!" cry. I feel stuck.  I am waiting on clearances to come back for the home study. I am having to redo papers for the dossier.  Fundraising is at a standstill.  I just feel stuck and a bit panicked.  If anyone has any ideas please let me know. Our number one need is getting the word out, getting the word out, getting the word out.  One person shared our blog last time and the right person saw it and changed everything for us. That could happen again, but we have to hit a new audience.

Anyway, I do have Hope and faith. I know I had these panic moments last time. I know it will happen. Thank you guys for listening, supporting, and caring about our family.  We couldn't do this without you!